Alex Forbes surges on listing

After it starts trading on the JSE.

JOHANNESBURG – Alexander Forbes Group Holdings began trading on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE: AFH) Thursday morning, with an opening price of R8.10 and more than 37 trades being made in the first minute.

The initial public offer price was R7.50. By 14:24, more than 33 million shares had traded and the share was up to R8.40.

Alexander Forbes first listed on the JSE in 1996. It was taken private in 2007 by a private equity consortium with a market capitalisation of R8 billion. As part of the exit of its private equity shareholders, it relisted on the JSE on July 24 with a market cap of around R10 billion.

Nicky Newton-King, the CEO of the JSE, said AFH was rejoining the main board at an expected value that would put it in the top 25% of all companies listed on the JSE. “This is testament to the work Alexander Forbes has done during its time away from us,” Newton-King told a packed JSE foyer.

She said this was the eleventh listing on the JSE this year.

AFH listed in the JSE’s financial services sector, one of the bourse’s most actively traded. With 28 issuers and making up almost 2% of the JSE’s entire market cap, the sector has more than doubled from R100 billion in 2007 to R233 billion on Wednesday. The JSE is the world’s 19th largest equity exchange by market cap.

“I hope this makes for a very productive and liquid listing destination for Alexander Forbes,” Newton-King said, wishing the Group CEO, Edward Kieswetter and his team every future success.

Kieswetter said AFH would continue to build the value it had over the past seven years with the support of new investors. This included “anchor investor” Mercer, which will hold a 34% stake subject to regulatory approval. Kieswetter said Mercer understood the Alexander Forbes business and would support its growth initiatives.

“This combination of continuity and newness makes this listing exciting for us,” Kieswetter said, noting that going public allowed “ordinary savers to take part in our growth story”. Kieswetter’s parents were present at the listing, as was his sister and fiancé.

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